Why Horror Needs A Horror Show

An announcement was made today, regarding the long running podcast, The Horror Show With Brian Keene. The show’s creator, Bram Stoker award winning, best selling horror writer Brian Keene, finally fed up with the drama that is social media, abruptly announced this week’s podcast would be the show’s last. Two-Hundred and Eighty some odd podcasts. Podcasts that educated and informed the horror community. And now it’s done.

Due to my limited association with Horror Show host Brian Keene, I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak about this development. For two years, during its tenure at Project Entertainment Network, I engineered and mixed his podcast with Christopher Golden, DEFENDERS DIALOGUE. I don’t have any inside information. I’m not privy to that sort of stuff. If you are reading this looking for dirt on Keene or anyone in the horror community, you won’t find any here.

I fully support Brian in his decision. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. ‘Cause right now, there is now a void in the horror community. One that will take pretty big shoes to fill. 

I came into this community after half a decade covering professional wrestling and entertainment news for various outlets. I’ve always written fiction, but my journalism led to me publishing my first pieces with a small press. It was a faithful trip to Virginia, to visit a charity convention, where I was blessed with meeting many of the writers who inspired me over the years, that changed my life.

In 2015 I was unhappy with where my podcasting and journalism was going. I knew that in order for me to grow, I had to branch out. So I wanted to expand and do other things, but my editor didn’t want to hear any of it. I followed Brian Keene on social media, being a huge fan of his body of work. I was able to relate to Brian. I’m much like him, we both spent time in the military. We both have children from relationships that went south. We’re both blue collar guys. We’re both metal heads. In fact, we love much of the same music and have many of the same interests. I about shit myself when I learned he played Magic The Gathering. So of course I listened when I learned he had a podcast.

In listening to his show, I heard a call for new podcasts at the then Project iRadio. The network’s owner, Jess Roberts, took my idea of The Necrocasticon, a project Walter Ball and I came up with. And we’re now in our sixth season at our second network, approaching the same milestones as The Horror Show has before us.  This is only the tip of the iceberg that is me.

Outside of the Necrocasticon, I’m going to show you how much of an impact The Horror Show With Brian Keene has had on me:

  1. Covering horror for This Is Infamous and on The Necrocasticon gave me an associate membership in the HWA. This allowed me a year long mentorship with Rue Morgue under Monica Kuebler.  
  1. I’d never know about Scares That Care if not for The Horror Show. My wife and I are proud to be part of this charity, and donating our time and money to it has made us better people. Through this charity I was able to take a Borderlands Bootcamp workshop, something that facilitated a positive change in my attitude toward writing.
  1. I met some of my best friends, including Skip Novak who podcasts with me, as a result of attending Scares That Care.
  1. Speaking of friends… I’d never have met Armand Rosamilia, someone who has guided me and shown me the way. He is not only a friend, he’s a mentor and someone I look up to as a role model. 
  1. I’d never have met Kelli Owen. I know Brian and Kelli have their differences, but I don’t care. I can’t change or ignore those who have made positive impacts on my life. I learned of Kelli through Brian, and it is Kelli Owen who has motivated me- more than any other creative- to get off my ass and write. 
  1. Or mi familia… I’d never have met Lisa Vasquez and my family at Stitched Smile Publications. Lisa is more than my publisher. She is another of my mentors and helped build in me the self-esteem needed to do this. 
  1. And then there is the Magical Fedora. I wouldn’t have met Garrett Cook. Garrett has been my primary instructor the last two years. He has molded me into a confident word wizard. And he’s made me a better person.

It’s five years later. I’ve released three books, a fourth is currently out for submission, and I am finalizing another short fiction collection. Two of these are through a small press and two will be self-published collections. I’ve published a ‘zine to help other struggling writers, providing them with something else to sell at their table. I’ve learned graphic design to assist other writers like me, those with little overhead, to have professional looking covers. I’ve grown as a person and a creative. All because of a podcast. 

So what’s my problem?

I don’t know if I have a problem as much as I have concerns.

Keene has long been a staunch defender of the underdog, the downtrodden in the horror community and I don’t trust anyone else to take up Brian’s banner and run with it. As a result, I could easily be pissed at Brian for canceling The Horror Show. On the surface, it looks like he’s quitting when the going has gotten the toughest. Some might say this is the time of trench warfare, when the tough suck it up! How dare you quit on us! 

To be mad at him for bringing this to an end means I didn’t listen to a damn thing he said in six years.

I’ve listened to other people in the community laugh and call him THE RICKI LAKE OF HORROR. I’ve looked them straight in the eye and said “I don’t see you doing it. Someone needs to.” I know all too well how difficult it is to maintain a quality, weekly, podcast. I know the sacrifice he’s made to provide a quality show for his audience. In recent years he’s been through a gauntlet of bullshit in both his personal and professional lives. I don’t blame him for quitting. 

There’s a personality trait I detest. It’s when angry people insist on killing the messenger. This isn’t Sparta, but certain people want you to think it is. When you report the news, you’re going to have those who don’t want to believe the news. They’re going to throw stones, and it appears to me that Brian is sick and fucking tired of having stones thrown at him. He’s had enough of getting kicked into a well. 

It looks as if the assholes have won.

I’m not so sure of that.

We need a Horror Show in some manner. We need a hero, a champion for the underdogs. For as vocal as I am on social media about civil rights, I’m not that person. I’m still nobody in this business. No one is coming to me for advice. But there are others. People with established platforms- like Max Booth III, or Grady Hendrix or Wrath James White. Ladies like Christine Morgan or Linda Addison. Hardworking guys like Patrick Freivald or John Wayne Comunale. There has to be someone- ANYONE- who can talk as well as Brian, be as objective as Brian, to take up this mantle, to fill this void … 

Bueller?

Bueller?

Anyone?

Anyone?

1 Comment

  1. Tough read. So many folk “writing” who should find other work. I suppose that applies to other forms of communication. I look for comments (on my efforts) to direct me and have admitted I’m ready to toss-in the towel if consensus suggests. Although, I’m going to declare I believe most “readers” aren’t working with a full toolbox. Q: why NOT step in? Even as declared “interim” to hold the venue open and viable until (one you agree) a legit successor comes along. Or if that does not happen, to grow into the position? On disparaging remarks – as one in a public forum, you realize there will be “haters.” At the same time, you realize most of those are working from a position of ignorance. When someone who has a complete deck of cards pans your work, that in itself is a compliment. Press on, Dude! (Can I say that?)

    Like

Leave a Reply to spwilcen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s